There are two commemorations on the Lutheran calendar this week. Yesterday we remembered Elizabeth of Hungary, daughter of the King of Hungary, married at 14 and widowed at 20, after which she made provisions for her three children so that she could become a nun. She died at the age of 24, likely due to her self-sacrificial ways and self-denial. She was known for her warm hospitality and her care for the sick and needy; one story tells of her giving up her bed for a leper. Many hospitals throughout the world are named for her.
Later this week, on the 23rd (which happens to be Thanksgiving this year), we’ll remember Clement of Rome, said to have been ordained by Peter. The 4th bishop of Rome, Clement faithfully kept Christ central to the Church. Tradition says that he was tied to an anchor and drowned, dying a martyr’s death.
As interesting as these tales are…why do we remember them? Why can you find a calendar of commemorations in the first few pages of the Lutheran Service Book?
The LSB offers a quick explanation: we don’t honor saints for their own sake, but to remember that God has given faithful servants to His Church. Through remembering we see God’s mercy as of old. These saints are “examples of those in whom the saving work of Jesus Christ has been made manifest.”
For a more in-depth look into why Lutherans remember the saints, here is an article from the July/October 2014 issue of Concordia Theological Quarterly. “Then Let Us Keep the Festival: That Christ Be Manifest in His Saints,” was written by Dr. D. Richard Stuckwisch, a 1993 and 2003 CTSFW grad.
CLICK HERE to read it.